Authenticity, Protecting your Energy & Toxic Positivity

Toxic positivity is the most powerful weapon against authenticity. Don’t believe me? Let me explain. 

Before we start here’s little background on toxic positivity

I love love. I love play, excitement, joy, fun! But it is wildly ignorant to believe that everything will always be rainbow and sunshine! I preach that our mindset matters and having a generally positive outlook is helpful for our mental state BUT we can go overboard in the positivity department. This is when positivity becomes toxic. 

Toxic positivity is the overgeneralization that we should be positive and optimistic ALWAYS. It stems from an unwillingness to acknowledge or experience negative emotions. Toxic positivity can feel fake at best and can force participants to repress their negative feelings at worst. 

Youtube Breakdown of Bossbabe culture!

What’s so bad about ignoring our negative emotions? Any emotion we ignore, bury or try to hide is just a bubble of trauma waiting to be burst. If we do not FEEL and ACKNOWLEDGE our emotions they maintain power over us and slip into our subconscious. They start impacting how we make decisions with or without our knowledge. 

In other words, toxic positivity is being SO optimistic we refuse to acknowledge who or what we are. It buries our authenticity and convinces us that we shouldn’t feel negative emotions (and we all know how I feel about shoulding”). 

Toxic positivity is not just “look at the positives” it’s saying to actively ignore and avoid the negatives. 

Toxic Positivity in the Wild

So now that we have our definition let’s jump into how it is used against us (usually against women or femme members of society). 

I’m going to use the phrase positive vibes to explain this. Let’s say I have a neon sign that says “positive vibes only” in my living room. Cute, right? 

Sure, BUT what if you, my bff, come over and need to complain. You really need to let out all the big sad feelings you are having because your husband left you, he stole your favorite cat, he wants custody of your aquarium that you bought and paid for and he was cheating on you with an employee at the pet store. Rough right? 

We sit down on the couch with the sign hanging on the wall behind me. As you tell me all about the AWFUL things that are happening to you, I sit there, with my glaring sign behind me and tell you “everything happens for a reason” or “you don’t want to be with a man like that anyway”. By saying this I begin subtly (or not so subtly) SHAMING you into positivity when you really need to feel all your feels instead. 

That neon sign behind me begins making you feel ashamed for bringing “negative” vibes into the space. It invalidates your feelings and makes the statement that you shouldn’t be feeling or sharing these negative experiences. Toxic positivity tells you that it is shameful to not be positive, to feel bad for yourself, to have emotions. Because of this, toxic positivity forces us to stay stuck where we are. 

Two Reasons Toxic Positivity Causes Stagnation 

  1. It causes us to repress how we feel and hide parts of ourselves to keep the peace. When we ignore our humanness we prevent ourselves from processing the pain. We would rather stay exactly where we are than deal with the emotion due to the fear that it may not be a positive experience. 
  1. When we pretend everything is ok (or convince ourselves that everything is perfect) we can’t see where we need to grow. Toxic positivity glosses over all the places we can grow. It smooths out any blemishes, it prevents us from seeing things as they are and if we can’t identify the issues we can’t fix them. 

Toxic positivity creates inauthentic and fake happiness. It tells us that just being in this moment means that we should (you know how I feel about should) be happy. Asking people to use perspective before they have had a chance to process their emotions marginalizes their experience and dehumanizes them. By forcing people to repress their emotions we are telling them that their baseline emotional level is “too much” or “inappropriate” under the guise of making other people comfortable. You should never make yourself less to make others comfortable (but you should respect their boundaries). 

Toxic Positivity in #Bossbabe Culture 

As I mentioned earlier, toxic positivity is usually used against women. The power of positive thinking is a marketing tool used by MLMs to convince women to invest in their programs. MLMs or “multi-level marketing” schemes are organizations that operate by recruiting salespeople who are not employees of the company. In most instances these sales people are then asked to recruit other sales people to make more money. Women are fed the line that they will “be a boss babe”, “own their own business” or #workhardplayhard to fuel their success. 

Who doesn’t want someone to give them the blueprints to success! It all sounds fun until you run out of friends and family to recruit from. All you have to do is plug in your network and build like the inspirational woman in the video they showed you with the sad sob story. When you no longer have the ability to add anyone else to your team because you’ve tapped your network dry, your dreams of being a #bossbabe begin to feel like failure.

In a lot of these organizations the person who recruited you is making money off your success SO they will feed you lies of toxic positivity or shame you into believing that you aren’t working hard enough. According to your bossbabe boss you are not allowed to fail or failure is not an option. Unfortunately for your bossbabe mentor, you can (and probably will at some point or another) fail.

A major issue with this failure is the financial burden it causes on the women who are duped into participating. These organizations do not just prey on suburban middle class women – they don’t care who they make money off of as long as they can get them to pay for their products. They do this by telling rags to riches stories to “empower” the women involved. But they don’t disclose the failure rates of women who join.

The Power of Positive Thinking

I think MLMs are totally fine if you have disposable income and want to try to make money but I do not believe they are the environment that can pull you out of poverty – and they are willing to take anyone’s money regardless of the odds of success. So, if you are spending your last pennies on a product that you then have to encourage others to buy before you can make money you are probably making a poor financial investment. It’s not IMPOSSIBLE to succeed from this position but it is harder. 

This power of positive thinking makes you believe you are the anomaly instead of normal. It will shame you into believing that you have to be willing to do “whatever it takes” to succeed. It’s bullshit- positive thinking isn’t the only piece that leads to success – and we need to throw toxic positivity away. 

Conclusion

Please don’t take this as an anti-positivity post – I love having a sunny disposition when it’s authentic! I truly believe that there is power in positive thinking – but there is just as much value in honoring your emotions, listening to your own intuition and rejecting inauthentic positivity. Please remember when you feel anything other than positive – that’s ok, normal and important as well! 

*I am not a doctor or therapist. 

Authenticity and Bravery Go Hand in Hand

I’ve talked about bravery before but lately I’ve had a bravery break through that I wanted to share. If you read the last post about bravery you might have a clue – it’s all about the importance of authenticity. 

In that post I chatted about the importance of authenticity and how to embody it but this time I want to elaborate.

And before we begin, yes, it is cheesy but the whole “be you everyone else is taken” can ring true. Stay with me as we dig into this!

Authenticity

Being authentic is the bravest choice you can make. Showing up unapologetically you (but obviously with kindness and good intentions) is the most important thing you can do – be you – it’s cheesy but you were meant to do big things. 

If we believe in higher power, God, Spirit, Energy, Source whatever caused us to be here – right now- then we are likely to believe that we were put here at this time for a specific reason. We were designed to exist as who we are for a specific reason. We were meant to have the wants, dreams, qualities and passions for a reason and this reason is SPECIFIC and individual to all of us. It is authentic. This individuality is why we have so many opinions on everything and everyone and why we judge other people or worry about them judging us. 

It’s messy – but it’s also liberating! Everyone is not supposed to follow the same path. If we all did the exact same thing that would be 1) boring 2) useless and 3) creates a homogenous world filled with things we could all do ourselves. We have to embrace our unique gifts and authenticity – we have to believe in our unique personal mission – we have to trust that there is some sort of plan or purpose and we have to be willing to be brave to find it. Our bravery is what allows us to follow our mission – allows us to be our most authentic selves. 

Being authentic is crucial to our success but we avoid it. Why?

Fear & Scarcity Mindset

We love to let our fear and scarcity mindset get in the way. Instead of listening to our inner guidance about our wants and passions we get caught up with our What If Monster and Shoulds. 

What If Monster

Our What If Monster is a jerk. We talk about him a lot in WDYW but to keep it brief he feeds off of fears and loves to stop us from doing new things under the guise of keeping us safe. He attacks using “logic” and scares us into staying the same. Our What If Monster says things like: 

  • What if I’m not “allowed” to have success?
  • What if I’m not meant to follow my dreams?
  • What if I fail?
  • What if people think I’m stupid for doing this?

He’s a real asshole. Every time we give in to his antics and hesitate from a place of fear (or hold ourselves back) we give him more fuel. We fill him up and make him so big that every little task feels impossible. Any new opportunity feels like it could be a threat. 

Stop Feeding the Monster

What we forget in this scenario is that we have the power to cut him off. We have the power to overcome him. All we have to do is stop feeding him. There are a couple techniques for this but one of my favorites is to play my What If scenario out.

What if people judge me? Then people judge me. I let other people’s potential opinions keep me from doing something I want to do. People judging me is a reflection on them not me. We can go on and on from here and in the end we usually come to the same place. IF the big scary what if happens then we will be ok, we will have done the big exciting thing we wanted to do and we will have learned something new. As long as we aren’t endangering ourselves or others we need to stop feeding the What If Monster so we can take away his power. 

Shoulds 

We love shoulding all over ourselves. Shoulding is another way we dim our inner voice and authenticity and tune into the way we think we were supposed to do things because of our childhood, lifestyle or opinions of others. Shoulding sucks. 

We should all over ourselves when we say things like

  • I should go on a diet 
  • I should go on a run 
  • I should get up and clean the house 

Shoulding forces us to ignore our wants and our wants are where our authenticity hides. We need to pay attention to our usage of should and try to frame things in a way that inspires us instead of bringing us down! 

Authenticity & Bravery

When we start noticing our shoulds and what ifs we begin to find our authenticity.By tuning out the noise from the outside we can listen to ourselves within. When we start to listen to our inner voice or intuition to be ourselves – that’s the bravest thing we can do. 

Being brave doesn’t mean we aren’t afraid. Being brave means we show up anyway even when we are scared shitless. 

Showing up as our most authentic selves is an act of bravery. It’s the bravest thing we can do. Taking an open and honest look at ourselves is BRAVE af. Looking inside, getting to know all of ourselves and loving ourselves along the way is BRAVE af. 

Being you is the bravest thing you can do. Ready to tap into your inner badass? Sign up for a program or schedule a 1×1 (while spots are still available). We can access your bravest most badass self. Details here. 

Media Consumption Boundaries

I am in a vicious game of Hungry Hungry Hippos (media consumption wise). I’m in desperate need of some media boundaries and conscious consumption. And I don’t think I’m alone in this.

Our Social Distancing Summer is making it easier than ever to sit behind our screens and consume the never ending marbles of information. Between Twitter trends, Instagram stories, Facebook arguments with racist relatives and the never ending, never sleeping news cycle this consumption is EXHAUSTING. 

I feel myself believing that I can’t stop eating the marbles. I can’t stop consuming.

Why? 

Because if I stop consuming I fall behind. I will no longer know what is going on. I may even be disconnected. 

On the occasions I do disconnect, I feel guilty because it’s a privilege to be able to forget for a little while. 

Obviously, this is unsustainable. So how do we stop eating all the marbles without falling behind with the news? 

Boundaries and Conscious Consumption

Boundaries 

Boundaries are a hot topic in the self help world. Every self help blog, book or Ted Talk I’ve consumed has mentioned them. Unfortunately, we hear a lot about them but we usually don’t get a full picture on them. Let’s break them down together before we move on. 

Boundaries, by definition, are limits we set based on how we want to interact with people or things. Setting healthy boundaries allows us to protect ourselves from the energy other people or things may require from us. They can be time limits, physical limits, emotional space, or mental limits. 

The important thing with boundaries is to remember that we set them to take care of ourselves NOT to burden ourselves with “shoulds” or pointless rules. 

My new and improved media consumption boundaries are: 

  • Screen time limit of 5 hours in a day on my phone (this includes Facetime because that is still phone screen time) 
  • 1 hour of each social media app per day 
  • 1 hour of additional news consumption 
  • No engaging or sharing content that includes violence against BIPOC or minorities

These limits are what work for me but remember to customize your boundaries to you! If you live alone maybe up that screen time option so you have more time to Facetime friends and family. Or maybe you’re really good about not being on your phone but you watch CNN 24/7 and you need to limit the number of news broadcasts you watch. Whatever works for you! 

*Reminder: Do not quit your boundaries just because you make a mistake or consume more media than intended. Some days I only use 3 hours of screen time, other days I use 6, either way I just try again the next day. 

Conscious Consumption 

Now that I have my boundaries in place I can prioritize conscious consumption. To do this I *try* to remember to ask myself the following questions: 

  • Is this serving me in any way? (Ways include but not limited to: joy, knowledge or entertainment) 
  • How is this media making me feel about myself?
  • If I were to have missed this media would I be uneducated on current events?
  • Is there more to learn on this subject or am I obsessively consuming content trying to make sense of something I have no control over? 

The list goes on and on but the sentiments are the same. I want to make sure I’m consuming things that are either essential or helpful to my mental or physical well being. If consuming certain pieces of media make me feel like shit (looking at you diet culture) and they are not essential or useful knowledge for me, I put effort into not consuming them. 

If anything or anyone I watch or engage with starts to make me feel negatively towards myself I put it down. 

Your Turn 

If you have been struggling with media consumption or if you have been working from home and feel the need to be “on” or available all the time, I encourage you to give boundary setting and conscious consumption a try. 

And, as always, if you need help getting your boundaries organized or set please reach out! I am more than happy to set up a session to help you live a life that fulfills you. Let’s make your dreams into your reality by making conscious decisions. 

butreallythocoaching@gmail.com 

Be You, Quit Trying to Be Perfect

If I had a penny for every post I’ve seen with something along the lines of “Be you, everyone else is taken <3”  I would no longer have student loan debt. While this cliche is easy to mock (and trust me – early 20’s Emily mocked it ruthlessly), I’ve recently come to the realization that it’s so popular because it’s actually kind of hard to do. Being yourself – being unique – truly identifying who you are and what you want in a situation is hard and a little confusing.

I can hear you groaning through the keyboard but hear me out, friends.This was a really hard task for me – I used to find it insanely difficult to be and define “me” and I don’t think I’m alone in this. I had a really hard time figuring out which thoughts, feelings and impulses were “me” vs the things I’ve been conditioned to believe or think. 

To truly identify me I had to:  

Separate who I was from how I felt (emotions) 

Separate who I was from all of my thoughts (impulsive thinking brain) 

After a lot of journaling, self discovery and asking myself a lot of why’s I found one of the roots to my identity crisis. Perfectionism.

As we all know, no one is perfect but a lot of us try to be. I had decided that I could not do ANYTHING that I was not perfect at…which triggered a major identity crisis considering NO ONE IS PERFECT.

No One Is Perfect

 Perfection is insidious. It is the downfall of mindset work. Perfection convinces us that we have to show up at 100% or we shouldn’t show up at all. It’s unattainable, unsustainable and frankly a load of bs.So I had to put myself in perfectionism recovery. Here are a few of the ways I shifted my mindset on perfection so I could get to know ME. 

*Before we jump in – I am NOT a therapist. If your perfectionist tendencies are interfering with your day to day life please seek the help of a medical professional. 

Pay Attention to Your Thoughts and Feelings 

Step one! Monitor those thoughts and feelings. Keep a journal, take a mental tally, set a reminder on your phone to take timeouts and check in – do whatever you need to do. 

You are not your thoughts or feelings BUT they do affect you. To help stop the perfectionism monster in its tracks you have to catch it. (Think of this like Swiper from Dora the Explorer – if you don’t see perfectionism sneak in you can’t stop it). 

Every time you catch yourself thinking a perfectionist thought such as “I shouldn’t even bother because this isn’t good enough” or “I’ll never have the perfect living room like all the instagram influencers” or “I’m going to quit posting about BLM because I can’t come up with the perfect or BEST way to talk about it”; Stop. Noodle on it. And think about it. Is this thought serving you? This thought – is it telling you who you are? How does it align with who you are?

Meeting your perfectionism in your thoughts is hard work.This will take TIME and PRACTICE.

Eliminate Good & Bad (Perfect & Imperfect) 

One way I’ve shifted my thoughts around perfection is by eliminating good & bad. I used perfectionism as a procrastination excuse. 

Ex: If I can’t meditate for a full 10-20 minutes then I shouldn’t do it at all because it’s not perfect or enough. Ex: If I can’t exercise for an hour everyday then it’s pointless and not enough. 

This mindset is a guaranteed ticket to failure town. Instead of aiming for perfection I aim for action. 

Ex: Doing 3 minutes of meditation is good. It is better than 0. Walking the dog for exercise is good, it is more than sitting on the couch. 

We don’t get to see instant results when we do things BUT if we kick perfectionism and build the habit we get better day by day sustainably. 

This was a crucial step for me because once I could recognize that any action towards my goal was PROGRESS! Tracking progress is motivating and serves us so much more than striving for perfection.

Celebrate EVERY LITTLE SUCCESS 

As a kid I would color in my coloring book, deem my art “not good enough” and then throw it away. My sweet, kind mother would pull my coloring out of my trash and hang it on the fridge because she thought it was good enough – I thought she was off her rocker. 

I was afraid that my art was never going to be good enough – my mother celebrated it. This was super important for me because it validated my skills even if I didn’t believe in them. 

As an adult I recently picked up the habit of celebrating every little success like I won the lotto. 


Complete the laundry? Dance party! 

Finish everything on my to do list? Take a nap in the sunshine! 

Catch a perfectionist thought before it derailed my day? CELEBRATE

Anything and everything is a cause for celebration. Make life your party. 

Get an Outside Opinion 

My final tip: Work with a mentor! Go to a therapist! Hire a coach!! Talk to someone about it. If you truly want to get to know who you are and what you want you have to eliminate the noise – and that includes the noise we’ve been conditioned to believe about ourselves. Work with someone you trust and who has your best interest in mind. 

Once you start noticing perfectionism it becomes a lot easier to catch. Once you start identifying which thoughts are yours and which are conditioned into you by your family/society/ external forces you get to take control. You get to kick perfection. You get to decide what you want your life to look like – and please – don’t try to make it perfect. 

Need help getting your mindset in check and getting to the root of who you are and what you want? Reach out to butreallythocoaching@gmail.com or visit the coaching tab. 

Let’s kick perfection and get to know our authentic selves. 

Harry Potter Inspired Self Care (Part 2)

Like I shared last week, I just finished re-reading the entire Harry Potter series as an act of self care. My mood has been messy and my brain has been a bit chaotic so I’ve been using my favorite series as inspiration for my self-care activities. By Harry Potter self care I do not mean taking Gryffindor themed bubble baths, creating shrines to Cedric Diggory or donning the sorting hat to advise us. Instead I want to instill in my self-care the values and tips shared throughout the books. 

But now that I think about it the sorting hat can be a fun metaphor for meditation!

So without further ado here are the rest of my Harry Potter self-care tips. Use them well and use them wisely.

Pensive (journal) 

“Words are, in my not so humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic capable of both inflicting injury and remedying it” -Albus Dumbledore

This quote applies to others and ourselves. The way we use our words and talk to ourselves can help or heal us. I highly recommend the self-care practice of keeping a journal and re-writing any negative or harmful thoughts into something positive. 

The pensive is a perfect analogy for a journal. It is a basin that the wizards are able to use to pull thoughts out of their heads and watch them from a third party view. It’s all about perspective. When we put our thoughts on paper we begin to see them outside of ourselves similar to the effect of a pensive. 

Harry Potter & Puzzle Solving in the Bath

I’m a big bath person. I love bubbles, salts, candles, the whole works and it appears Cedric Diggory is as well. During the Tri-Wizard tournament Cedric gives Harry a hint on how to solve his egg puzzle – and it’s all about the bath.

By sitting in the tub, relaxing, being interrupted by Moaning Myrtle and then going underwater Harry figures out his clue. I personally adopt this practice (minus Moaning Myrtle) anytime I need to mull something over. The bath is a perfect spot to sit and think. 

Great Leaders are Handed Power

“Perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it. Those who, like you, have leadership thrust upon them, and take up the mantle because they must, and find to their own surprise that they wear it well”

Have you ever been put in charge of a group or project and immediately wondered why you? Leadership isn’t just CEO’s, high ranking officials and voluntary leaders – it’s also found in the people who did not ask for power or leadership but nevertheless are asked to take it on. 

The best bosses and leaders I’ve met are people who are not necessarily power hungry but who actually want to simply help others and somehow ended up in leadership. Leadership is not about status – it’s about influence. 

These are the last of my Harry Potter Self-Care pull yourself out of a rut tips! Take what you like, leave what you don’t and maybe mull them over in a bath. Have any additional tips? Leave them in the comments! 

*I am not a therapist or licensed medical professional. This does not replace the advice of a certified medical professional. Always work with a legitimate professional when it comes to your health.

Harry Potter Inspired Self Care (Part 1)

I’ve just binge read the Harry Potter series for the millionth time as an act of self care. These last couple (ten) weeks have had me visiting every emotion. I’m up, I’m down, I’m excited, I’m claustrophobic. My brain has been messy.

When things get chaotic in my brain I rely on EASY TO REMEMBER and instant gratification tricks to help me get back in the zone. Revisiting an old literary friend is one of my coping mechanisms – it’s chicken soup for my nerdy soul.

Video for all my auditory learners!

Every time I revisit my favorite wizarding school I pick up a new nugget of wisdom and this time I got hit over the head with a bludger of ideas of Harry Potter self-care. By Harry Potter self-care, I do not mean taking Gryffindor themed bubble baths, creating shrines to Cedric Diggory or donning the sorting hat to advise us. Instead I want to instill in my self-care the values and tips shared throughout the books. 

So without further ado here are my Harry Potter self-care tips. Use them well and use them wisely. 

Harry Potter and the Healing power of Chocolate

“Well, he should have some chocolate at the very least.” – Madam Pomfrey 

Professor Lupin provides us with my favorite antidote – Chocolate. Chocolate heals. Chocolate milk, chocolate bars, chocolate bunnies – you name it I think it’s healing. If you’re not a chocolate person use this as a reason to give yourself a luxurious treat – and that doesn’t have to be food! A bubble bath, a movie night in, a glass of good wine – whatever fills you with a little warmth inside to help keep you happy. 

Pocket Patronus

“Dementors are among the foulest creatures that walk this earth. They infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them.” – Lupin

Self-doubt, negative self talk, gossip and fear are just muggle dementors. How do you get rid of a dementor? A patronus. For those of us that haven’t made it to NEWT level Defence Against the Dark Arts, to cast a patronus you have to think of the happiest thought you can summon. As a muggle I like to use this to practice coming up with pocket happy memories or thoughts. 

To do this I think of my happiest memory or a location I’ve been happy in or a person I love. I’ve actually written these down and I will revisit them or try to think about them anytime a negative Nancy comes my way. Expecto Patronum negative thoughts. 

Boggarts

Make fear riddikulus and confuse fear by not facing it alone. A boggart, for those of us who may not remember, is a creature that takes the shape of the biggest fear of whoever is standing in front of it. For each person the boggart would take a different shape. In the books/movies, Harry’s boggart turns into a dementor because his biggest fear is fear itself (very FDR of him). Laughter is the only way to get rid of a boggart so to fight one the attacker must imagine their biggest fear becoming something funny while stating the incantation “Riddikulus”. Boggarts also struggle to come to their form if they are facing more than one person so when fear comes along turn it into something funny and if you can – bring a buddy. 

One of my personal boggarts is the fear of failure so to combat it I imagine the most ridiculous set of experiences leading to my failure in whatever I am working on – it sounds a little counterintuitive but it always makes me laugh. 

These are just a few of my Harry Potter self-care tips. I’ve got a few more up my sleeve. Please leave a comment and let me know if you want to hear more of them! Keep safe and sane! 

*I am not a therapist or licensed medical professional. This does not replace the advice of a certified medical professional. Always work with a legitimate professional when it comes to your health.

How to Harness Bravery

“To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, making you everybody else–means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” — E.E. Cummings

If you had told me a couple years ago I would be writing a blog post about how I access and harness bravery I would have laughed, timidly, in your face. 

Bravery and I have had an ebb and flow relationship. I was an opinionated child, a loudly opinionated teen, a squashed into submission sorority girl, a rebel without a cause post grad and then part of the corporate world petrified of making the wrong move. 

In my early adult life I went through periods of authenticity and rekindled my bravery only to let that light slowly go back out because I hadn’t truly identified who I was or what I wanted. But over the last year I rediscovered what it meant to be me and how to use my authentic self, my inner truth, to harness the courage to be myself. Here’s how I did it. 

Identify Who You Are and What You Want – Authenticity

It all boils down to authenticity. Authenticity requires self awareness, vulnerability and the key ingredient of bravery


How do we get to a spot where we are brave enough to be ourselves? Well, to start, we love the shit out of ourselves. I’ve shared videos on harnessing self love and the importance it plays in being our authentic selves.  

When we truly love ourselves the power other people have over us reduces significantly. But then what? 

We still have to be brave. 

Can’t miss an opportunity to include a Disney reference

What is Bravery? 

Bravery is doing something that you know is right for you even if it scares the shit out of you. Facing myself, who I was and what I wanted forced me to muster up courage. It’s so hard to get to know ourselves if we are afraid of what we might find which is why self love is so important. 

For me, bravery was identifying my fears, getting to know them and still doing the things that scared me because I knew they were authentic for me. My most recent example of bravery was making the jump to this career path full-time. Being self employed is unpredictable, we are continually told that we are in unprecedented times, and what if’s were abundant amongst my friends, family and myself. In the end, I know this is the right path for me for now, so I jumped because this is what is authentic to me. 

Bravery is not being different or contrarian for the sake of being difficult. Feeling special or unique is super important to most of us but we have to do it from an honest place. Your authenticity is your power so wield it wisely and don’t use it to hurt anyone else. 

Now that we have defined what bravery is and is not let’s talk about how to access it. 

Affirmations 

One of my favorite ways to call in bravery is to literally tell myself that I’m brave. I look myself in the eye in my mirror and tell myself “I am brave” or “I am courageous”.

It sounds silly but I promise the more you say it the more you will start to believe it. 

If vague terms are not your jam feel free to get specific with it. For example if your fear is public speaking your affirmation can be “I am a skilled and confident orator” or “I am an excellent public speaker and I find ease in getting my point across”. 

Keep saying it until you believe it. Courage is a mindset. 

Get to Know and Own Your Fears

What’s stopping you from doing what you want or being who you want? What’s so scary about it? 

“What if’s” are often a lot scarier than the real outcome but if it makes you feel better play out the worst case scenario and see what happens.  

* Depending on the answers to this it may be time to work with a mental health professional to overcome some of these fears – especially if they are based on previous events in your life. My personal advice on this is to always work with someone who specializes in the subject you are struggling with. 

Bravery is being nervous or scared and doing what resonates anyway. It’s ok to be afraid – you’re growing! You can acknowledge the fear and still keep going. 

Just Jump

You know your fear – it’s right in your face. Now you just have to do it. If you can always try to do the hard thing first. 

In my experience, once you start being brave it’s a lot easier to keep going. It’s going to be scary – do it anyway. If it will help have someone support you on your jump. Ask someone to hold you accountable to it and ask them to remind you of your why.  

Celebrate Your Bravery

Once you’ve done it, even if it was awful – CELEBRATE. You made a move. You did the thing! Even if you totally stunk it up you tried something new!

This is how I went about harnessing my bravery and turning it into a tool for success. A word of warning – bravery is not a one way street. I’ve had moments of panic, loss of courage, and self doubt trickle in OFTEN but I just kept coming back to my authenticity and my truth. 

If you need help identifying your wants so you can turn bravery into your super power reach out for a 1×1 session! butreallythocoaching@gmail.com 

*I am not a therapist or licensed medical professional. This does not replace the advice of a certified medical professional. Always work with a legitimate professional when it comes to your health. 

It’s OK to Suck

Actually, it’s more than ok to suck – it’s good for you. Trying something new and even “failing” at it is benificial. It increases resilience, helps us embrace our imperfections and allows us to enjoy the journey more than the final result. 

It is ok to suck at things (but try them anyway)

The Truth

NO ONE is good at something when they first try it. I REPEAT – NO ONE is magically good at something when they first try it. Think about your childhood – were you magically good at riding a bike when you first tried? If you’re like me the answer is a loud, clear and skinned knee NO. I had a bonus training wheel because I leaned to the left for years after I learned how to ride the bike.

As adults we have a harder time embracing the art of trying something new and sucking. So let’s go through the importance of trying new things and why it’s ok (and even encouraged) to suck. 

Shoshin

I’ve gone on about the importance of beginner’s mind or “shoshin” but ITS SO IMPORTANT TO ME. In case you’ve missed my soapbox speeches on beginner’s mind it is dropping our expectations and preconceived notions about something and truly embracing the task with child like curiosity and observation.  More information about beginner’s is available here.

Builds patience and perseverance 

As kids we get a lot of practice sucking. Everyday we learned something new or tried a new skill. As we get older we have less opportunities to put ourselves out there and fail. Somewhere towards the end of adolescence we get this false notion that we have to be GOOD at something to do it.

In our adult years we are more likely to try something once, perform mediocre at it and then quit because we aren’t magically the Simone Biles of our new skill. But, if we keep building on that skill – even if we think we suck at it – eventually we will make progress and we learn to enjoy the journey. 

We learn from our failures 

Some of the best life lessons come from really making a mess of things. When we try something new and suck at it, the attempt can point out places we have opportunity to grow in.

Let’s use the example of needle point. If I wanted to start doing needle point I might buy all my materials, review how to do the stitches, sit down to sew and start flying through the project. As I’m sewing I may notice that I’m poking myself with the needle a lot or creating uneven stitches.

Odds are good that I would need to slow down and practice patience. When I notice this lack of patience in a new task I am more likely to identify it in other places in my life. For example: I may want to apply patience to my relationships or with myself when I’m sluggish with completing my goals.

Sucking makes us more compassionate 

When we perform mediocre or absolutely stink something up we develop empathy for others when they suck because we know how it feels. 

Once we accept that it’s ok to suck we get to enjoy the journey. We approach challenges in a new and creative way. We learn to celebrate the little victories along the way. We develop resilience to laugh at our failures. We become more compassionate and supportive to other people on their journeys.

Sucking at something makes us better people. For me personally those things are learning to play the keyboard and writing mediocre poems.

Let me know in the comments what you aren’t afraid to suck at or what you are going to try!

*I am not a medical professional. Please work with a certified professional when it comes to your physical and mental health.

You Are Not Your Job

I’m just going to say it – you are SO MUCH MORE than your job.

When you introduce yourself how do you do it? In the past I’ve always said “Hi I’m Emily – I work in HR at BLANK company.” And before that I was “Emily – and English major at UCSB”. I wouldn’t even say I valued my job more than my hobbies or family life – it was just status quo to describe myself based on what my “current job” in society is at the time. We’re just going to start with the facts here – you are not your job YOU ARE SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT.

You are so much more than your job!

With 8.2 million Americans (at the time I’m writing this) collecting unemployment right now I think a lot of us are grappling with this concept. Who are we when we aren’t working? What is our value without our jobs?

We have to disconnect our self worth and our careers.

 So how do we detangle our self worth from our jobs? How do we live a life with a fulfilling career that doesn’t own our happiness and security? I’ve got a four ideas for us to try.

Self love

I know, I know, I bring this up A LOT but that’s because it is vital to our happiness. You have to love yourself as an individual – not for your output. To untangle ourselves from our careers we have to identify who we are and why we are worthy of love (spoiler alert: its because we are alive). When we embody self love we see ourselves as individuals by doing that  we’ve separated our worth from our outputs. I’ve got a video on embodying self love if you need a little more inspiration on it.

Self Love Club Party

Find your wants

Another way to seperate yourself from what you do is to ask yourself what you want. This is a loaded question so spend a lot of time with it. It’s important to find what you want not what others want for you. Think about it in a silo – if you could have whatever you wanted with no strings attached what would it look like? Dig deep.

Kick comparison and competition to the curb

A little competition doesn’t hurt but try to reduce competition and quiet your competitive nature. Once you know what you want you can use it to stop comparing yourself to other people – especially people who don’t want the same things as you. It’s totally fine to want to be the best at things or do them well but you don’t need to compete with people who aren’t even running the same race as you. When you stop competing unnecessarily you can be grateful for what you have and how far you have come.

Phone a friend

Lean on friends and family to help build you up. If you’re reallllly struggling to remove your worth from your work as a trusted friend or family member if they are willing to describe you. Odds are good they will describe your qualities as a friend – not your career.

These are just a couple tips to help separate your worth from your work. Practice self love, identify what YOU want, quiet your competitive nature (just a bit) and lean on friends to help build you up.  Remember you are not your job – you are a beautiful, authentic, individual human with unique hobbies, interests and qualities. Sending you lots of love!

Making Change Manageable

Change has a bad reputation.

As a general rule, humans aren’t big fans of change. We like control, predictability, knowing and understanding. Our lizard brains tell us that something new means danger or the added stress of having to adjust. So we fight it. We tell change no. We put energy into maintaining status quo or staying the same. Usually, it works for a little while but eventually we end up putting more energy into staying the same than we would have if we had just gone with the flow and changed.

Ironically, usually, change is good for us. Breaking from our routines let’s us grow, helps us think creatively and empowers us to take on new experiences. Sounds great on paper right? For a lot of us it is a lot harder to accept change in the moment. So how do we do it? We practice. Below I’ve included the Who, What, When, Where, Why & How system to make processing change tolerable and fun. 

A system to help us adjust.

Below is a breakdown of the who, what, when, where, why and how system I use to adapt to new information.

Who

First identify who owns the change. You may not have made the decision that triggered this change but you can reclaim control and determine what you do from this point forward. 

What

Then, identify what is the change?  What can I control? What can I not control? 

When

Next, identify when this change needs to take place. When do I need to know what I want to do about the change and when are the important dates around this change? Bonus points for asking what the repercussions are for delaying the change (in my case it is usually self-inflicted discomfort). 

Where

Now, we get to tap into our bodies and ask where we feel the hesitation to making the change? Where are other emotions coming up around this change? Let yourself feel all your feelings around the change – don’t repress them. Just identify where they live in your body and acknowledge them. 

Why

Once we have met our feelings we move into the toddler stage. Ask yourself why? And ask it a lot. Why is this making me uncomfortable? Why do I not want to make the change? 

If I’m still having trouble identifying why I’m hesitating or what is making me uncomfortable about the change, I take a break and try something else and preferably something new. Trying new things shows us what change feels like for us and allows us to tap into beginner’s mind to find creative solutions. 

How

Now that I’ve got my Who, What, When, Why, Where I practice the How. How can I accept this change gracefully – bonus points for how can I make it fun.

Let’s apply it with an example.

Scenario:

Let’s say your roommate gets a new job out of state and they are moving in two months. You adore your roommate and have a very comfortably symbiotic relationship with them. Let’s apply the process.

Who

Who does this effect? You, your roommate, the relationship you have with them. You may not have made the decision but you now get to own what happens from here. 

What

What is the change? Getting a new roommate to help pay the rent. Having to allocate time to meeting a new roommate. Adjusting to another person living with you. 

When

When does the change take place? The change starts now emotionally but physically your roommate will be leaving in two months. This gives you time and space to make a plan. Come up with a way to recruit a new roommate and process the loss or grief of the one you have leaving you. 

Where

Now that we have covered the timeline we tap into ourselves. Where are we struggling to accept this change? Where do your thoughts and feelings go while thinking about this change? You may feel loss over your current roommate, anger for the situation changing, anxiety over meeting a new person. Don’t judge yourself – there is no right or wrong. Feel all your feels and let them out. 

Why

Now that you know what you feel and where you feel it ask yourself why like a toddler. Why am I resistant to this change? Why don’t I want to make this change? In this example it may be because you really don’t want to have to interview or get to know new roommates. 

How

How am I going to accept this change? By looking for a new roommate and maintaining the important relationship with the one I had. How will I make this fun? Maybe set up a funny craigslist ad or ask friends to help you come up with ideas on how to include your personality and fun qualities into looking for a new roommate. 

Everyone processes change differently – and every change is a little different so feel free to play with the process or shake it. I hope this helps and if you need any help making a change plan – reach out! butreallythocoaching@gmail.com 

*I am not a therapist. If you are struggling with your mental health during a major change I implore you to reach out to a mental health professional.